NHSX guidance aims to improve NHS digital transformation efforts

A doctor looking at a smartphone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

NHSX has published a new set of guidelines that aims to help NHS trusts embrace technology to further their digital transformation efforts.

The move follows a report from earlier this year which found that major technological innovations implemented in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic need “further work" before they are locked-in.

Known as What Good Looks Like (WGLL), the new framework provides NHS managers with instructions on how to use digital technology in medical services – as well information about who should be paying for it.

NHSX hopes the WGLL guidelines will set a “common foundation that should be in place across the NHS”, from making it easier for patients to access online services to implementing the correct cyber security measures in order to avoid cyber attacks.

WGLL also calls for NHS trusts to make digital services, such as online access to care plans, test results, and electronic prescribing systems, easily-accessible across the whole of the UK, and not just in select locations.

This would help to reduce health inequalities as well as make work easier for frontline workers, whom, according to NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould, were a key part of developing the guidelines:


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“They have been produced following extensive consultations with the frontline, and will continue to change as we get more feedback. They are designed to be helpful, empowering and clear. They set out what they should be driving towards, and how they will need to pay for it,” he said.

The NHSX has also published a set of proposals on how to tackle the obstacles in digital technology investments. Known as Who Pays For What, it aims to solve issues such as the uncertainties over funding sources, digital transformation costs, and lack of understanding of the benefits of digital investment.

The NHSX is proposing changes in financial and payments policies in 2021 to 2022 as well as seeking to encourage the uptake of established technologies and promote the adoption of emerging innovations.

It also announced that it’s bringing together multiple existing funding pots into one national application process, in order to simplify the bidding process and make funds more equally-distributed.

Commenting on today’s news, NHSX CIO Sonia Patel said that she hopes that these resources are both empowering and enabling in terms of understanding the destination we commonly want to reach across the nation with digital transformation”.

“Talking to leaders across the NHS, there is a renewed belief and confidence in the digital and data agenda and increasing awareness of the importance it holds in supporting a modern NHS,” she added.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.